Employees Win NIH Director’s Awards for Tech Transfer and Clinical Trial

By Samuel Lopez, staff writer
Photo of NIH Director Francis Collins speaking on his deck. A group of trees is in the background.

NIH Director Francis Collins offers remarks via video recording from his deck.

COVID-19 has paused or postponed many traditions this year, but it didn’t stop the National Institutes of Health from awarding NIH Director’s Awards to 660 employees and contractors. The ceremony, usually held in Bethesda, Maryland, went virtual.

Several NCI at Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory employees were among this year’s recipients, which included individuals and teams commended for contributions made during 2019.

The awards recognize outstanding accomplishments made at NIH annually and are considered to be among the most prestigious honors NIH gives to staff.

In video remarks made from his deck, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., said that, while the pandemic may have shifted the ceremony to an online format, it didn’t detract from the employees’ good work.

“This [event] reminds us of what we’ve accomplished, what we stand for, and all we hope to achieve, even beyond the pandemic that now commands so much of our attention,” he said.

Collins also sang and played guitar in his traditional fashion before directing viewers toward the links to the various institutes’ awards.

NCI at Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory employees who received awards are listed below. (Note: Poster has omitted the names of team members who are not part of the Frederick facilities. For a complete list of recipients on each team, please click the link for each award.)

NCI Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program Team (awarded by NCI)

In recognition of the NCI Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program: Lab-to-Market Training for Post-Doctoral Scientists Across the NIH.

Taryn Dick (NCI), Rose Freel (NCI)

The Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program is a one-year course that teaches postdoctoral fellows, staff scientists, and staff clinicians how to develop, pitch, and commercialize inventions. Employees apply to join, and if their application is granted, they receive hands-on training and personal coaching from NCI’s Technology Transfer Office throughout the year.

“Supporting the postdocs’ and scientists’ career growth is rewarding. Others in the community have mentored me and helped me during my career, and I view this as a great opportunity to pay it forward,” said Rose Freel, Ph.D., a team lead for the program, adding that the award makes her feel like her work is valued.

The DCR/NIAID Palm Consortium (awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID])

For the extraordinary contributions of DCR staff in identifying two effective treatments for Ebola virus disease.

Sara Albert (FNL), Beth Baseler (FNL), Tyler Bonnett (FNL), Lisa Coleman (NCI), Ian Crozier (FNL), Thomas Duvall (NCI), Michael Duvenhage (FNL), Michael Galcik (FNL), Nikki Gettinger (FNL), Heidi Hall (FNL), Scott Keasey (NCI), Kristin Komschlies McConville (NCI), Stacy Kopka (FNL), Laurie Lambert (retired) (FNL), Jonathan Marchand (FNL), Tracey Miller (FNL), Alejandra Miranda (FNL), Kevin Newell (FNL), Cynthia “Ck” Osborne (FNL), Calvin Proffitt (FNL), Shelly Simpson (FNL), Eric Stavale (FNL), Marc Teitelbaum (FNL), Jing Wang (FNL), Shera Weyers (FNL)

The PALM (Pamoja Tulinde Maisha) trial was a landmark clinical study, conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, that demonstrated that REGN-EB3 and mAb114 significantly improved survival rates among Ebola patients. NCI at Frederick and the Frederick National Laboratory supported NIAID and Congolese efforts to conduct the trial.

In video remarks to award recipients, both NCI Director Norman “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, M.D., expressed their regret that the recognition couldn’t be given in person this year but said that the unusual circumstances couldn’t diminish the staff’s achievements.

“Even though this event is different than in previous years, the most important part of this award ceremony is the same, and that is that it involves you and your remarkable achievements, and nothing can take away from that,” Sharpless said.